Buffett: Fed Is 'Greatest Hedge Fund In History'

Sep 20 2013 | 10:20am ET

You can have your Julian Robertsons, Steven Cohens and George Soroses. Warren Buffett will take Ben Bernanke.

The Berkshire Hathaway chief yesterday called the Federal Reserve "the greatest hedge fund in history." The Fed is producing "$80 billion or $90 billion a year probably" in revenue, something "that wasn't the case a few years back," he told students at Georgetown University. And "it is under no pressure, none whatsoever to have to develerage. So it can pick its time, and if you have someone wise there—and I think Bernanke is wise and I certainly expect his successor to be—it can be handled. But it is something that's never quite been done on this scale."

Buffett would not weigh in on the race to succeed Bernanke, other than to say he'd like the former Princeton University economist to stay on. "If you've got a .400 hitter in the lineup, you don't take him out," he said. "I don't have a second choice. I don't know Janet Yellen at all."

As for this week's surprise announcement that the Fed would not begin to slow its bond-buying, Buffet said Bernanke is "going to keep doing it until he sees more improvement in the economy, and I think he's been mildly disappointed—not hugely disappointed—in the rate of improvement in the economy in the last few years. He's not pre-judging exactly when it's going to happen; he's telling you the conditions under which he'll change."

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